Special Topics in Safety Management

7 Steps to World-Class Safety Performance: Part 1

Today, we present the first 4 steps, and tomorrow we’ll review the rest.

1. Engage Employees

Involving employees in the safety process is essential to safety success. It provides a way for them to demonstrate and share their commitment while building pride, ownership, and skills. Here are a few proven methods to spark participation:

  • Conduct an employee survey to identify the safety and health issues that matter most to your workers and where they feel improvement is needed.
  • Involve employees in safety planning.
  • Communicate regularly and often about safety with employees at all levels, using a variety of communication channels to make sure your message reaches everyone.
  • Give employees meaningful information about your safety program, including costs and financial impact of incidents.
  • Encourage employees to get involved in activities like safety training, hazard identification, and conducting job hazard analyses (JHAs).
  • Respond thoughtfully and promptly to all employee safety suggestions.
  • Set a personal safety goal for every employee, from the newest entry-level worker to the CEO, and review progress at least annually.

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2. Identify and Report Hazards

One large industrial cleanup site posts a log book at each of its locations. Employees are encouraged to make safety-related entries into the book at any time. Daily, an on-site supervisor reviews the content and transfers it to a computer database.

The findings are accessible to all workers. The log book tracks problems and the steps being taken to remedy them. Employees feel confident that if they write something in the log book, it will get attention.

Other proven tactics include:

  • Building a library of up-to-date JHAs, and using them as the basis for task training
  • Making it easy to report hazards
  • Conducting regular safety audits of every work area
  • Encouraging employees to remedy hazards themselves when safe to do so
  • Implementing metrics that help you track and analyze identified risksPaying attention to near misses
  • Making sure that all reporting of incidents is recognized and appreciated and never punished

3. Get the Most from Managers and Supervisors

At companies with world-class safety programs, managers and supervisors consider safety an integral to the work, rather than an add-on. To integrate safety into your work culture, make sure managers and supervisors:

  • Regularly express concern for employee well-being, positioning it as a company value
  • Routinely discuss safety at staff and employee meetings
  • Attend and participate in safety committee meetings
  • Conduct frequent facility walkarounds, commenting on best practices and areas in need of improvement
  • Use coaching and feedback to encourage safe behaviors
  • Launch accident investigations and follow up with corrective actions
  • Provide adequate resources for PPE, equipment maintenance, etc.
  • Establish relationships of trust with employees so that workers feel free to report near misses and discuss safety concerns

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4. Put It in Writing

For example:

  • Develop a safety and health mission statement that aligns with corporate goals.
  • Codify safety policies and practices into a document that’s easy for managers, supervisors, and employees to consult and use.
  • Develop detailed written procedures for all types of safety-related situations, such as reporting hazards and incidents, OSHA inspections, emergency response and recovery, drug and alcohol abuse, responding to the media, and so on.

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